New vaccine manufacturing plant; police record arrest of Seagen CEO in detail – GeekWire

Inventprise CEO Yves Leurquin inside the company’s new vaccine manufacturing facility. (Photo GeekWire/Charlotte Schubert)

Here’s a look at some of the top life sciences and health news in the Pacific Northwest this week.

Bill Gates helps open new vaccine manufacturing plant: Seattle Area Biotechnology Company Inventory built the facility with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “For the Gates Foundation, Inventprise is an extremely important partner,” said Gates, who attended an inauguration event and tested positive for COVID-19 the following day.

The former Athira Pharma executive weighs: Xue Hua, the company’s former head of clinical development and research, posted a blog post criticizing the company’s handling of an investigation that led to the resignation of longtime CEO Leen Kawas in October.

Seagen CEO on furlough following domestic violence allegations: Police records detail the night Seagen CEO Clay Siegall was arrested at his home last month and charged with a felony misdemeanor fourth-degree domestic violence. Seagen announced Monday that Siegall is on leave and the company has launched its own investigation.

GeekWire Award Winners: The GeekWire Awards took place live and in person for the first time in three years on Thursday. Learn more about the winners here, including health data company Truveta, which won the Health Innovation of the Year award. The other finalists in the category were: A-Alpha Bio, Parse Biosciences, Tasso and the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington.

The California two-spotted octopus (bimaculoid octopus). (Z.Yan Wang Photo)

More life science news:

Recognition: Four University of Washington faculty members were elected at the National Academy of Sciences: Elizabeth Buffalo, Joseph Mougous, Jay Shendure and professor emeritus Jim Truman.

Ambassador: Sister Dr Jenna, a self-described “spiritual mentor,” has joined Paris Hilton as an ambassador for Seattl-area microbiome company Viome. After using the company’s “precision supplements,” the America Meditating radio show host “started to feel such a shift in my energy and feelings,” she said in A press release.


  • After laying her eggs and caring for them, the female octopus dies in a process known to be mediated by glands between her eyes. Animals sometimes even injure themselves or eat their own limbs in the process. A new study led by Z. Yan Wang, assistant professor of psychology and biology at the University of Washington, describes the chemical pathways that control the event.
  • The composition of gut microbes may influence the body’s response to statins, drugs commonly prescribed for cardiovascular disease, according to research conducted by the Institute for Systems Biology. The group found that certain classes of bacteria were associated with a stronger response to drugs. The findings could to lead to new ways to predict who is likely to react and more accurate calibration of drug dosage.
  • Scientists have long speculated that individuals may have different susceptibility to the accumulation of mutations in their DNA. University of Washington assistant professor Kelley Harris and her colleagues have now found a gene in mice that affects the rate at which mutations accumulate in the rest of the genome. The findings have implications for understanding heredity and cancer susceptibility.
  • Fred Hutch and researchers from the University of Washington have identified some of the unique immune cells found near human solid tumors, providing potential targets for new therapies.

Event: The Institute for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at UW hosts five speakers at its stem cell symposium on Thursday, May 19. The event is in person and virtual.

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